The Eagles lost one of the crazier games of the early NFL season 31-35 in Atlanta, falling to 1-1 to start the year. First, the big news is the Michael Vick injury, which we'll get out of the way right off the bat. Vick was taken out of the game in the 3rd quarter after he collided helmets with Todd Herremans and could be seen spitting out blood as he walked off the field. The Eagles later said that that he had bit his tongue. The whole thing was really just bad luck as Vick wasn't even hit hard on the play, it's just unfortunate that he happened to hit Herremans in the helmet hard in the way down. After the game, Andy Reid confirmed that Vick had suffered a concussion, so obviously his status for next week against the Giants is in doubt.
As for how it finished, there's a few things you could point to as the main reason the Eagles lost tonight. Certainly the fumble as the Eagles were knocking on the door for a TD in the second quarter that ended up giving the Falcons the ball on the Eagles 20 and a TD of their own is up there. The Jeremy Maclin drop as Mike Kafka was leading the Eagles down for a possible game winning TD was bad... but the real killer had to be the red zone defense. The Eagles D allowed the Falcons into the red zone five times and gave up a TD every single time. That's just not acceptable.
The crazy thing is, it's hard to even understand how the defensive performance can vary so widely in one game. There were times tonight when the Eagles defense was dominating. They picked off Matt Ryan twice, sacked him four times and hit him hard countless other times. But on other drives, the Falcons would get chunks of yardage with ease. It seemed like it was either three and out or a TD. It's really hard to understand. Certainly the linebackers are an issue as they not only struggled to stop the right tonight, but let Tony Gonzalez go off for seven catches and two TDs. I thought Jamar Chaney particularly struggled.
But amazingly, all hope was not lost at the end as Mike Kafka drove the Eagles down the field with an impressive nine play, 69 yard drive that unfortunately ended with Jeremy Maclin dropping a perfect pass that would have given the Eagles first and goal with plenty of time left. It was especially rough to see Maclin with such a bad drop after the night he had setting a career high with 13 catches for 171 yards and two TDs. In three career games against the Falcons Maclin now has 24 catches for 413 yards and 4 TDs in three career games vs the Falcons.
The Eagles finally return home to host the Giants in the home opener next weekend. Obviously the headlines will be all about Michael Vick as he undergoes concussion tests to see if he will be cleared to play.